Book news, mysterious London, and a polygamist
Hello! So, it’s October, and do you know what that means? It means birthday week in my family (seriously, 6 birthdays in my extended family between October 4 and 11, including mine!). For some of you, October means crisp weather and colorful leaves. It definitely means an abundance of apples and all the apple foods–my favorite–even when the weather’s still pretty warm down here in Houston (although we have finally had some cool and crisp mornings, hallelujah!). October also means it’s almost election day and less than a month until my newest novel launches into the world!
In regard to elections–it’s not a presidential election this year, which means voter turnout tends to be low. However, there are plenty of positions in your state and local area that are up for election, and I would argue that some of these elections will affect your day-to-day life even more than who’s president, so I encourage you to take an interest and go vote. Check out your local newspaper for voter guides, or even just Google the candidates. And if you, like me, sometimes get overwhelmed by *flails hands* everything, here’s a tip: it is actually rare to agree one hundred percent with any one candidate. So identify what’s most important to you, what are your deal breakers, and do your best. The good news is that everyone’s up for reelection again in a couple of years.
But the really exciting topic of conversation right now is: my book! With You will make its official debut November 17! It’s a heartwarming, slow-burn love story about a Kristen, who’s looking for a change, and a Jack, who’s committed to his personal status quo. It’s about friendship, grief, and making peace with the past. Perfect for fans of Beth O’Leary, Sophie Cousens, and if you haven’t already pre-ordered a copy, you can do that here, here, here, or really anywhere you like to buy books. You can also request that your local library get a copy, if you’re more of a library user (to be honest, as a librarian, nothing was more exciting to me than seeing my first book on a library shelf and in an actual, honest-to-goodness library catalog).
Here are a few in-person events coming up to celebrate the release of the book:
Saturday, November 5
Texas Book Festival, Writers League of Texas booth
Saturday, December 3
Barbarossa Coffee, 9222 Louetta Rd., Spring, TX
Saturday, December 10
East Texas Book Bash,
Mill Creek Ranch Resort, Canton, TX
This is a ticketed event. Tickets are $5 and can be found here.
More Than You’ll Ever Know by Katie Gutierrez, was a fantastic book about a subject I typically avoid. It’s hard not to get hooked on the premise: a struggling writer and true crime enthusiast reads a story about a rarity: a woman was married secretly to two men at the same time, and one husband shot and killed the other. The writer wants to know more, and begins interviewing Lore and letting her tell her story. Here’s the thing: I hate books about infidelity. I hate books where I’m supposed to feel sorry for the person cheating. But this book was so fascinating, and so well written. Ms. Gutierrez’s writing was so beautifully evocative and grounded, that she really immersed you in the world of these characters. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this book to everyone, but it’s a fast, page-turning read, and was perfect as a buddy read. We had some good discussion after reading!
I purchased Murder in Westminster after hearing the author, Vanessa Riley, on a panel at the Decatur Book Festival. It’s the start of an amateur sleuth, historical mystery series, and I thoroughly enjoyed it! It had everything I need from a good historical mystery: vivid, detailed setting; realistic characters; and an interesting mystery. The main character is a woman of Jamaican descent married to a landed and titled officer in the British Navy in 1804, which gives it some really unique elements. I think the author did a good job of writing a tidy, stand-alone mystery, while creating personalities and relationships that the readers will want to follow throughout many adventures.
Jade City by Fonda Lee is a fantasy novel inspired by East Asian culture, kung fu, and gangster movies. It’s lush, cinematic, and bursting with family and political drama and intrigue (think: The Godfather meets Bruce Lee). The magic system is creative (jade gives certain people supernatural abilities), and the culture of the book is a seamlessly natural and organic extension of that unique element. It’s the first book in a trilogy.
And now for something completely different: The Wounded Healer, by Henri Nouwen. This short book is absolutely packed with wisdom and encouragement for people who love Jesus and want to share that love with the people around them with compassion and grace. Nouwen focuses less on specific “how-tos,” and more on mindset and posture toward ministering to others. It was written in the 1970s, but its relevance for today is really astounding.
My friend Hayley was gushing a few weeks ago about a British rock band called Bear’s Den, so naturally I had to check them out! Needless to say, their music has been on repeat in my ears for the past month or so. Their sound has a Colony House meets Drew Holcomb vibe.
In keeping with an accidental British theme, I was also recently introduced to folk rock singer/songwriter Henry Grace and his debut album. Although he’s British, Grace’s first album was born out of several years he spent in the United States while going through a really difficult time in his life. It’s an album about hard times, but infused with hope and the perspective of someone who’s been really low and made it to the other side.
All right, that’s it for now, folks! What’s your favorite part of fall? The weather? The leaves? Apples? Nothing, you’re longing for the return for summer? Let me know in the comments!